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Are work-related devices a tax write-off?
Are work-related devices a tax write-off?

Over the years our reliance on technology has increased exponentially, especially related to conducting business. During the 2019 tax reforms, it was proposed that salaried (W-2) employees can no longer claim job-related deductions. However, this rule does not apply to self-employed workers.

If you are self-employed, there are several work-related devices you can claim as a tax write-off.

Mobile/Cell phone

If you own a cell phone and use it exclusively for business purposes, the cost of the phone and monthly service are both tax-deductible.

However, if you use your personal cell phone for business rather than a dedicated landline or business cell phone, then you can deduct a portion of the cost of your phone as a business expense.

For example, if 40% of your cell phone usage is business-related, you can deduct 40% of the cost on your taxes. You may need to keep records, such as an itemized phone bill, to prove your deduction is valid in the case of a tax audit.

You may be able to seek a 100% deduction if you meet the following criteria:

  • The cell phone is essential for your business;
  • The service expense and device isn’t extravagant, and is reasonable for your type of business;
  • You have a home phone line or separate cell phone dedicated to personal use.

Computers, laptops, notebooks, and tablets

Computers and laptops are legitimate business purchases and you can deduct the cost of these devices if they are required to run your business.

Amendments to the tax law have changed the restrictions on computers, tablets, and other tools (i.e.software and printers). They are no longer considered property, but you must be able to show that you are using them at least 50% of the time for business. If that use requires you to be connected to the internet, then an internet bill is also tax-deductible. But however, if you use the same device for personal reasons, only the business portion of the costs is tax-deductible.

Internet usage

The use of the internet on your computer, phone, or tablet can be deducted.

Even if you work from the comfort of your home, use Wi-Fi or an internet dongle while traveling for work, these costs are also considered tax-deductible.

Other Devices

Now apart from these common deductions, there are several work-related devices that you can write off such as:

  • iPads, reading devices and tablets
  • Cameras, video cameras, lighting and studio equipment
  • Microphones, speakers and audio equipment
  • T.V.s, monitors, projectors and screens
  • Coffee makers and appliances

The following table comprises a number of items that you may be able to deduct on the basis of your occupation.

Occupation

Work-related devices

Artist or designer

Drawing tablet, iPad, Apple Pencil, stylus, airbrush, computer/laptop, monitor, mouse, camera, scanner, printer

Content creator

Camera, headphones, lights, mic, Playstation, mouse, gaming wheel, PC or laptop, Nintendo switch, GPU

Photographer

Tripod/gimbal, DSLR, Go Pro, laptop, drone, smartphone

Writer or copywriter

Laptop/computer, camera, mic, tablet, kindle

Keeping a track of all these deductions can be time-consuming when you file for your taxes. FlyFin can automatically scan through your expenses and provide you with different categories of deductions that may apply to you.

FlyFin’s team of expert CPAs can help you uncover industry-specific tax deductions that you may not even be aware of. If you’re unsure about an expense, our CPAs can help guide you through it.